ISLAND POND — The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has reinstated a program to stock walleye into Island Pond, stocking 14,350 fish into the waters this summer.
The stocking program is being done to bolster what is quickly becoming a walleye fishing destination in Vermont – 20 out of the 28 walleye entered in the 2014 Wright’s Northeast Kingdom Ice Fishing Derby came from Island Pond.
The Island Pond walleye population was first established through stocking roughly a century ago, but the population had virtually disappeared by the 1980’s. Stocking was reinstated from 2000 to 2008 to test whether a self-sustaining population of walleye could be established by natural reproduction. However, the department determined after six years of monitoring that natural reproduction alone was not enough to meet angler demand.
“While we were waiting to see if the population could maintain itself without stocking, Island Pond became a popular location for walleye fishing,” said Jud Kratzer, fisheries biologist for Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “We decided to continue to support the walleye population there with regular stocking, which will help promote an important recreational fishing opportunity.”
The broodstock used for stocking walleye this year were drawn from Island Pond’s own walleye population.
Walleye will be stocked every other year in order to prevent creating competition among juvenile walleye that are too close together in age.
Biologists anticipate that the juvenile walleyes will reach legal harvest size in about three to four years.